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March 22, 2003
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Geneva: Auto Show Highlights
By Steve Litscher

(Friday, March 14, 2003 10:15 PM EST)

Porsche Carrera GT

Porsche Carrera GT

Porsche Carrera GT

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VIENNA, VA - Over 700,000 people attended the 73rd annual Geneva International Motor Show, and preliminary feedback indicates the show was a success - perhaps the best show to date.

With over 50 cars making their world debuts (concept and production debuts, combined), Geneva never leaves anyone feeling underwhelmed. Most notable introductions included the Audi A3, Ferrari Challenge Stradale, Lamborghini Gallardo, Mercedes-Benz CLK Cabriolet and the Porsche Carrera GT.

The Audi A3 is a smart looking little number, the result of Audi's first application of the Volkswagen PQ35 platform. It appeared at Geneva in 3-door form only, while a 5-door version will follow next year (think A6 wagon, only smaller).

Bentley announced pricing and specifications for the eagerly anticipated Bentley Continental GT. MSRP for the beautiful coupe has been set at $149,000 and for your hard-earned greenbacks, you'll be rewarded with a 500 horsepower, 6.0L twin-turbocharged V8 that is sure to be signature Bentley. Bentley is claiming a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds; we can't wait to get our hands on this beast.

Lamborghini unveiled it's Gallardo (the "baby" Lamborghini as it's come to be known) at Geneva. The two-seat coupe boasts an all-new, 40-valve V-10 engine that cranks out 500 horsepower through an all-new 6-speed manual gearbox. The gearbox can be ordered with or without sequential, steering wheel mounted controls, and promises to be quite a contender in the sub $140K sports car market.

Rumor around the show was that Lamborghini is considering building a sport utility vehicle to compete with the Cayenne....hmmmm.....Espresso versus "the pepper"...

With styling that only appears to know how to get better and more beautiful, Mercedes debuted its CLK cabriolet. The CLK features a cloth-top and can be opened and closed by remote control. Engine choices include four-, six-, and eight-cylinder options. On the bottom end of the food chain is the 2.0L CLK 200 Kompressor (163hp), while the CLK 55 AMG version boasts a 5.5L 367hp V-8.

Porsche officially announced the Carrera GT - the racing-inspired 5.7L V-10 will lay-down 612 earth shaking horsepower, and hit sixty miles per hour in a license revoking 3.9 seconds. Need to reach 125mph RIGHT NOW? No problem, the Carrera GT will get you there in under 10 seconds. Thanks to a patented monocoque carbon fiber chassis, the Carrera GT's weight is kept to a svelte 1,380kg (that's 3,042 lbs for you non-metric folks).

Geneva continues to be one of the world's favorite car events, and 2003 was no exception. Stay tuned to Roadfly for coverage of future events as we strive to bring you the best automotive news, Roadfly style.

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